Tear-down business in S. California raises longtime residents' ire

Jan. 4, 2014 at 12:24 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Construction of mansions in place of one-bedroom homes prompted some Los Angeles residents to ask the city to tighten its so-called anti-mansionization law.

Critics say the ordinance, passed in 2008, hasn't stopped construction of oversize homes that block views and sunlight, and alter the aesthetic of established neighborhoods once lined with smaller, older homes, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

"I am at the point now I have to make sure I am decently clothed to cross my back yard," said Clark Carlton, 57, who lives in an area of Los Angeles that has seen lots of tear-downs and mansion construction.

The Los Angeles City Council enacted additional size limits in October on new residential construction in the Beverly Grove neighborhood, the Times said.

The changes don't require a particular house style.

"The new restrictions will support long-term property values," activist Shelley Wagers, who pushed for the measure, told the Times. "Mansionization has been a matter of profiteering, and has made quick money for a few people at the expense of their neighbors."

Developers and wealthy buyers, in search of buildable land, have been razing smaller, older houses in desirable Southern California neighborhoods to build modern mansions.

In Los Angeles, builders got approval to raze 1,227 houses and duplexes from January through mid-December last year, Department of Building and Safety records indicated. The Times said the number was 29 percent higher than in all of 2012.

In upscale Manhattan Beach, builders pulled permits to tear down 84 residential units from July 2012 to June 2013, the Times said, almost double the number for the same time a year earlier.

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